Universities, especially the most famous ones, are increasingly becoming unique tourist destinations. Places like Harvard and Stanford; Cambridge and Oxford, have a rich history that obviously makes them uniquely appealing, not only to history buffs, but to any well-read person. Cambridge, for instance, where celebrated figures such as Isaac Newton studied, has obtained a reputation that far exceeds that of the town that lent it its name.
It’s also worth mentioning that we also just like visiting places where great intellectual discoveries—or innovations—were made. It’s the reason the Apple Garage, where Steve Jobs co-invented Apple Computers, is among the places tech tourists enjoy visiting. For those who find it a great pleasure to retrace the steps of revered intellectual minds, visiting the place where Einstein developed his theory of relativity will be an experience of a lifetime.
Here’s Why You’ll Enjoy Visiting Einstein House
Named after Albert Einstein, the controversial man who changed our views of space and time, Einstein House is where the Theory of Relativity was born.
It is here that the German-born physicist, known to have had a dying love for cats, formulated a theory that would revolutionize physics and upend our knowledge of the material universe.
Einstein lived in Bern, Switzerland from 1903 to 1905. Before his arrival, he had spent about three frustrating years looking for a job after his graduation from the Zurich Polytechnic.
It’s one of the ironies of history that it took Einstein, one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, and whose name is now almost synonymous with intelligence, nine years to secure a job in academia.
When Einstein arrived in Bern, he would move with his first wife (a Serbian physicist known as Mileva) and occupy a flat located on Kramgasse Street, one of the principal streets in the Old City of Bern.
The house was located at No.49 and was situated on the 2nd floor. Einstein came to Bern to pick a menial job at the Swiss patent office. One of the most extraordinary minds to have walked the earth would go on to live in Bern for a total of seven years.
While his post at the Swiss Patent office, known as the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property had not been his ideal occupation, it afforded him time to mull over key scientific concepts and put his thoughts on paper.
Other Fascinating Facts About Einstein House And Einstein’s Time There
Of course, Einstein would move to other places and to other glamorized posts. But one of the reasons his time at Kramgasse No.49 is perhaps the most pivotal is because this period included 1905, now referred to as his annus mirabilis, his most extraordinary year—or his year of miracles.
It was in this year that Einstein would publish four papers in the Annals of Physics, papers that would completely alter the foundations of physics and of astronomy. For instance, it was in 1905, while staying at this very house, that Einstein argued that light was not some electromagnetic wave but tiny physical particles known as photons.
It was because of this particular discovery that Einstein would receive the Nobel Prize in 1921. It was here also that Einstein put forward his epoch-making Theory of Relativity.
We may not know with certainty why 1905 was Einstein’s most productive year. There have been suggestions that his stint at the Swiss Patent Office was undemanding and not mentally taxing. He would refer to it as his “cobbler’s trade.”
Einstein would quickly go through the motions of authenticating patents and then have all the time to stare out the window and let his thoughts wander.
To some, this was idle daydreaming. To Einstein, these were useful thought experiments.
Planning To Visit Einstein House? Here’s What To Expect
Besides Einstein House, besides Bern, Switzerland boasts several must-see destinations on a scale that is certainly mind-boggling.
And while the Playground of Europe may not exactly be a cheap destination, there are various ways to explore it on a budget. The exciting news is that Einstein House is not an expensive destination to visit.
Einstein House is today a museum and accepts both individual visits and group tours. For 2023, it will be open to visitors from 1st February to 20th December. The apartment itself is small, especially for one who theorized a lot about space.
A short film about Einstein’s life has elements of surprise as well as fascination. There are stairs to mount—and no elevator—something that may make it inaccessible to the physically handicapped or to the aged.
For those who can, setting one’s feet on the floor that Einstein walked on, and seeing where he sat and ate and slept, is a spiritual awakening worth experiencing.